Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Scottish Independence Campaign and the Velvet Revolution

And so it ended, with wild rallies all over the country. After two long years of preparations and months of feverish debate, Scotland's amazing referendum campaign is finally over.

And as I write these lines, Scots are heading to the polls to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country.

The campaign ended with a final message from the YES side urging them to take their own future in their hands, and choose hope over fear. 

Our nation is alive with energy and excitement about the future. And the collective democratic awakening in Scotland goes further and deeper than the independence movement alone. For all of this, Scotland is richer. It is this popular energy which gives confidence for Scotland’s future. Together, we can harness the passion, drive and vision that abounds in Scotland today and use it to build a better society.

It ended with a final message from the NO side warning of doom and disaster. 

Despite having campaigned for separation their entire 80 years of existence, the Nationalists have been unable to answer some of the most basic questions they have been asked during this campaign. As we vote today we still don’t know what currency would be in our pocket in a separate Scotland or what separation means for pensions and public services.

And a reprimand from the police for trying to further fuel their obscene climate of fear.

The Scottish Police Federation has issued a statement accusing the media and no campaigners of exaggerating the extent of aggression deployed during the Scottish referendum campaign. Brian Docherty, the chairman of the federation, said in the statement: "The referendum debate has been robust but overwhelmingly good-natured.

It ended with their relentless negativity, driving tennis star Andy Murray to come out for the YES...

Like so many others who refused to be bullied and cowed into submission.

It ended with the ghastly corporate media which has spent the entire campaign denigrating and diminishing the Scottish people, now begging them to stay...

And this writer defying the herd, pointing out that Great Britain is not so great anymore. Calling what is happening in Scotland a velvet revolution. 

Surely if this “political reformation”, as John Harris described it, happened anywhere else, we would be calling it a velvet revolution and marvelling at democracy in action. It may well be fierce, shouty and messy, but these are undeniably voices from below and we should listen.

And celebrating CHANGE.

So I say yes. Take a leap towards self-rule. One can be on the side of change or against it. The thing is, change is here now, whatever happens. Finally, thankfully, yes.

It ended with Duggy Dug in his basket having a NO nightmare...

In yet another example of the creative ways the YES side used social media to get their message out, and counter the onslaught of Big Business and their stooges in the MSM.

And at the end of this long campaign it ended with Alex Salmond, the country's First Minister, who was reviled by those stooges more than anyone else in Scotland.

In the crudest possible ways...

But never let his vicious opponents provoke him or lower him to their level.

Stuck to his positive, hopeful message from the beginning to the end.

Was criticized even by some on his own side for being too plodding or too boring.

But when he had to, rose to the occasion in the final critical debate, decisively defeated his NO opponent Alistair Darling.

Told Scots all they had to do was believe in themselves.

And is now closer than ever to his dream of an independent Scotland...

Which is the dream of millions of Scots, and is also the dream of this Scottish-Canadian.

For I have never seen such a wonderful exuberant carnival of democracy. It has made my spirit soar like an eagle over the rugged highlands and the wild North Sea I know so well.

And I can't wait for OUR velvet revolution. 

I have no idea what's going to happen. I'm afraid the NO side might win because they have targeted seniors with their evil scaremongering campaign and they are vulnerable.

I know that because I spoke to my Mum today and she was frightened of what might happen. For which I will NEVER forgive them.

But what I also know is that Scotland will never be the same. 

I know that a new generation has come forward in numbers never seen before to join the struggle for independence. 

And I know that now that it is reborn, that dream will never die...

For every Scot who ever lived and fought for freedom.

Let hope defeat fear.

Scotland FOREVER !!!!

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  1. Scotland is rising, Simon. Thank You for your inspirational words. As a Scottish-Canadian myself, I have never been more proud of my fellow countrymen.

    1. hi j evans...I'm writing this after the referendum so naturally I am very disappointed. But as you know the Scots have endured many defeats and they always rise again. As they will after this one...

  2. I look at this through my own lens. Big is not better. I lived and loved small Europe. I think we have satisfied the nationalistic demands of Quebec, but if they left so what? Its not like I could not still drive to Montreal and watch hockey game with good friends.

    This is a ideological thermometer measuring the cooking temp of sheeple. If Denmark, Iceland etc can have their own destiny why not a even greater Scotland?

    1. Why fuck you very much sir, mind remembering those of us on the ATLANTIC side of Quebec whose future as Canadians able to contribute and continue to feel a part of the nation whose futures are DIRECTLY affected by this a bit more than whether we can see a hockey game in Montreal with good friends?!?!?!?

      Sorry Simon, I have ZERO patience with this sort of crap, I've been hearing it for decades, and it really pisses me off to watch my home get no consideration from such folks. We only have the birthplace of Confederation here, two of the four founding Provinces of this nation here, roughly ten percent of the national population here, but we are not worthy of consideration by so many who seem to feel it is fine for Canada if Quebec leaves??? Hence my rather strong opening sentence.

      We down here have suffered serious economic fallout from the rise of the Separatists in terms of investment for decades, who wants to invest in a part of a nation that may not stay connected physically and put into the unknown in the case of a YES vote in Quebec after all. So you might understand why seeing such a casual sentiment about something that has already had major negative impacts for decades down here just might trigger a bit of heat, yes?

      Try thinking a little more before making such obscene comments will you Steve, and if you think I am being overly sensitive, all that shows is just how little you understand the real pain and suffering that mentality inflicts down here on top of that imposed by the Quebecois Separatist movement over the last 4 decades. I've lived here through all of them, I've SEEN the damage first hand, and I have lost all patience with any so called Canadian that cannot be bothered to remember their fellow Canadians held at the mercy of those in Quebec whenever they threaten to go, or worse are encouraged by so called fellow Canadians to go and the nation would be better for it.

      I use the alias Scotian because I am proud of my home Province and my regions place in this nation, and I will not see it insulted, degraded, and dismissed without reacting.

    2. hi Steve...I feel the same way about small being better. I feel that one should not be forced to live in a country whose values you don't share. And that like a bad marriage sometimes a divorce is the only way to solve the problem. When you look at how successful some small nations are it's hard to argue that small can't be great. If I sailed directly east from the part of Scotland where my family lives I would end up hitting Norway, which is a far better country than the UK is these days...

    3. hi Scotian...boy you really are grumpy today. I think you're overreacting a bit to what Steve said. I do understand what you're saying, and I wouldn't want to see Quebec separate on tribal grounds alone. But if it did have a truly progressive vision that could not be accommodated in a country that thanks to the Cons is turning into a right-wing nightmare then I wouldn't have any problem if it decided to leave. You see just like UK Scotland question I'm sure things would settle down very quickly and that Atlantic Canada wouldn't suffer any consequences. Because it is a precious part of Canada and it would be in everybody's interest to make sure life would continue as normally as possible. But anyway, you don't have to worry about Quebec separating. Its separatist movement is in total disarray. It has no vision to attract people, it's disgraceful ethnic politics have turned people off and even the young have abandoned it. And yes Nova Scotia FOREVER !!!! ;)

    4. Simon:

      On this topic I am ALWAYS grumpy. In all the years/decades on this issue I have seen little to no consideration given to my side of the national border with Quebec from within the Separatist movement, and the other side only remembers us to use as a club to try and knock the Separatists down when they do at all, and the ROC is about the same. Yes, currently the threat is lower than at any other time since it rose (and yes that does feel good), but it is too soon to say it is over for good. At least with Scotland they were not cutting a nation in two if they left, the rest of the UK was still contiguous on that Island, here though the impacts of even the threat have been very damaging. I'm serious Simon, it made getting businesses interested in investing here far more difficult, and when you already have the logistical challenges our region has that is a major concern indeed.

      As to your optimism that my region would not suffer any real harm, sorry Simon, I wish the world worked that way, but what can you point to me that shows that actually is the way such things happen, hmmm (indeed the Harper rise and ability to get three successive governments, the third a majority shows this in action)? Not to mention your failing to consider that if there are bad feelings left on the ROC for a nation of Quebec it would make negotiating treaties and such for us down here just a bit more difficult and protracted, all of which would be leaving us taking more and more damage. I've spent all of my adult life having to consider these ramifications and scenarios Simon, and I cannot be anywhere near as positive as you about the idea that there would be little to no real pain for us down here.

      Consider this scenario for example, the Harper regime gets another majority, this triggers a progressive Quebec departing, you think that Harper government is going to a) protect Atlantic Canadian interests (remember we are a culture of defeatism for hims and only good as a labour force in Alberta as a primary concern/interest), b) the bad blood on both sides between a progressive Quebec newly minted and the Harper ROC which caused it to leave is going to leave each wary of any negotiations and treaties with the other, and c) regardless of the reasonableness as seen from the progressive Quebec side to their actions the ROC is going to see it a lot less positively because it did split this nation by one of the founding Provinces, and this in turn will make for a lot of tension for a long time to come which in turn continues to leave my region swinging in the wind.; That just one of the more optimistic scenarios I could see in reality Simon going by the actual players in our political culture, the pattern of our history and the nature of human psychology.

      to be concluded...

    5. Conclusion:

      Another reason I and many Atlantic Canadians have so little patience on this issue is that Quebec is not only deciding their future but ours as well every time this comes up, yet we have no say in the matter, and have seen near ZERO consideration paid by Quebecers whenever the issue ran hot as to what happened to us (except to tell us it was their decision and we did not deserve any consideration because it was for them to decide their own destiny, yadda yadda yadda). Even if we didn't get a vote, couldn't there have been some thought and consideration given to us, say telling us that if Quebec is a nation they would allow us transport access as we have currently to the ROC for our economic survival, just to show one example.

      It is very hard not to be "grumpy" when you have gone through decades of this having your home wrecked by those you have no say over, control over, who have such control over you. Have you ever seen it from that perspective before Simon? Just think on it from that POV for a while, and then think about how it must feel when you hear/see those from the ROC say Canada is better off if Quebec goes, or that it will make little difference for them if it does, and then perhaps you can just begin to see why I say on this topic I am always "grumpy".

      I'm sorry Simon, this is a very serious as well as emotional issue for me and for many down here, even if many are too polite to be as blunt about it as I am. I know you weren't trying to be dismissive in your reply, but in truth your overly positive belief in things working out well for all in such has precious little other than your faith to support it, and the problem for me and so many like me is that such wonderful realities almost never turn out in truth (remember when the end of the Cold War signified a much better global future for all, how did that work out, the so called peace dividend, just to use one recent example of such optimistic thinking). I would love it if the world did work that way, but I know you have seen enough of the ugly underside of human nature on the personal as well as the political side that you should know better.

      I do appreciate your positive nature, but your comparison of the UK-Scotland dynamic and ours is apples and oranges (granted they are both citrus but Scotland went about it honestly and directly, the Quebecois nationalists have never done so, and they have historically tried to eat their cake and have it in their sales pitch unlike the Scots, and as I already pointed out before, here we have a section of Canada being physically cut off in the event of a yes vote, the Scotland-UK matter did not, and that does make a serious difference in such things), and I am far less convinced that emotions would settle so easily. For that matter I am not so sure they would have in the UK and Scotland if Yes had won for that matter, but that at this point is a hypothetical.

  3. I wandered all over Edinburgh the first week of September and not once did I run into any source of negativity or hostility when chatting with any Yes supporters while at their demos and displays. Cheerful, upbeat, optimistic and proud were the folks I encountered. Everywhere you looked around the city; in windows, on poles, and even construction sites were the banners and flags of what seemed to me an indication of a peaceful revolution. What I did notice was the almost non-existence of the No campaign on the ground; No information pickets, scant advertising in windows and on doors, nothing. Literally nothing. I for one will be hoping for a Yes win. Into the great, wide open and Damn the torpedoes! If Scotland can pull this off, what an inspiration they will be.

    1. Anonymous6:55 PM

      Apparently people that wore "No" buttons or posted "No" signs were harrassed and accosted on the streets. So they have chosen to remain anonymous.
      Nice way to win a vote.
      Intimidation and threats.
      Scots have no idea what they will bring upon themselves.
      just wait for the world financial markets to react tomorrow to a successful Yes vote.

    2. hi Omar...the Scottish referendum has been a model of civility and tolerance. I also noticed that the YES presence was much more visible than the NO one, although that apparently changed since the time I was there in late July. I'm writing this after the referendum so I am naturally disappointed but still very proud of the way Scotland managed to carry it off. And I'm hoping that the democratic awakening will continue, and still lead us in the right direction, and hopefully one day to the Promised Land. How lucky you were to be there at this time..

    3. hi anon...6:55pm...As the police themselves pointed out the NO side exaggerated the hostility out there and declared that the whole campaign to have been mostly good natured. Sure there were some incidents, like an egg that was thrown in the direction of a NO spokesman, and even in the peaceful shire where we live there was some defacing of both side's signs. But really that is small potatoes compared to what has happened in other countries debating such a momentous decision. And the economic threats were just part of a shameful fear campaign designed to scare and intimidate the old and the vulnerable...

  4. 1. Your pension is owed to you no matter where you live.
    2. A nation can choose whatever currency it wishes. It could use the US dollar; it could use the Pound. On international transactions you say, "Payment to be made in English Pounds." English may not be happy, but not much they can do.
    A couple of points to ponder.

    1. hi're absolutely right on both counts. The pension issue was just scaremongering designed to frighten the elderly. And keeping the pound would have favoured the rest of the UK as much as it favoured Scotland. And as even Alistair Darling pointed out during the last debate if the Scots wanted to keep it thee is nothing Westminster could have done...

  5. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I just keep wondering, Harper has sold Canada to Communist China. Does Quebec now wish they did seperate? At least Quebec would not be given to China.

    PM Cameron worships Harper's and that would be enough for me to cut and run. Anything even remotely connected to Harper is poisoned. Make no mistake, Harper is a monster and is spreading his evil in many countries.

  6. I have watched closely and it is so wonderful to see the enthusiasm esp. the younger people.If only we could engage the younger voters here the same way.Heres hoping tomorrow brings a joyous YES! Love the blog,by the way- thanks for all the great posts. Amidst so much negativity yours is such a positive and hopeful voice. Thank you.

    1. hi Emma...that was the highlight of the referendum campaign for me, seeing so many young people getting involved in the process wads an absolute joy. And although the YES side lost this one, I'm pretty confident that thanks to them we will win the next one...

  7. Whether Scotland votes to stay or go, it was a good campaign. It clearly sent a message, which those in London will have to pay attention to. Failure to pay attention, will result in another try at it and then it might succeed. If during the interim Scotland does work out how they would establish a monetary system and who would "own" the North Sea resources, they might just do it.

    As countries' populations expand it becomes more difficult to hold them together and/or do business. The various regional factions have to be dealt with and then the political factions within the regional factions. It maybe that a return to the "city state" might be more response to citizen concerns.

    Given the large population of G.B., Scotland may well be "ignored". Larger areas, with larger voices usually receive the attention of the politicians regardless of the political party. Some people want to change that.

    Quebec separatists were over observing. I do hope they took note of one thing. There was more humour in the campaign in Scotland than there ever was in their campaigns. Really what do the majority of Quebecers have in common with the rest of Canada. For that matter, would California, Oregon, and Washington States do better off by themselves than with the rest of their "Union". Would B.C. be better off as part of the 3 American states instead of Canada.

    It may even come about that the E.U. does not survive. Bigger isn't always better, just ask Switzerland.

    1. hi e.a.f....I must admit that by the time the vote was over I was as we say in Scotland totally gutted. But I'm feeling better now, and still confident that Scotland's day will come. Bigger isn't always better, and despite its small size Scotland has made an enormous contribution, and of course no country have the Scots contributed more to than Canada...

    2. e.a.f.3:28 PM

      Yes, they gave B.C. Jack Webster!